Chicago Tribune (TNS)
If you’re busy shielding impressionable children from one presidential candidate’s sexual boasts or busy being one of the other candidate’s irredeemable deplorables, you may have missed this news: the Obama administration confirms that the government’s annual budget deficits, which had declined since the close of the Great Recession, are rising again.
The deficit for the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 was $587 billion. That’s 34 percent higher than the previous year’s deficit. When we peeked at USDebtClock.org — a live-action website that delivers terrible news to despairing readers — our government’s debt stood just north of $19.7 trillion. That’s more than $60,600 for every man, woman and innocent child.
Oh, and those numbers don’t include the unfunded liabilities of entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Did you know that the number of Americans 65 and older will explode by almost 40 percent during the next decade?
Secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump, you have children. Why aren’t you scared?
We know these major-party candidates are blissful about Debt Mountain because each of them plans to increase its height. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculates that Hillary Clinton’s policies would add $200 billion to the national debt over the next decade.
She would raise tax revenue but devote that money to new spending, not to retiring debt.
And Donald Trump? Because he would cut taxes, his policies would grow the national debt by $5.3 trillion over the same decade.
Among your options:
- We wouldn’t be in this fix if President Barack Obama hadn’t been forced to clean up the economic debacle that started on George Bush’s watch. If Obama and the Democratic Congress of his early years had spent more money to stimulate the economy, we’d have more jobs and more tax revenue today.
- Obama has nearly doubled a national debt that was $10.6 trillion when he took office in January 2009. He’s been spending all he can for eight years, the better to buy votes for himself and other Democratic candidates. When did you last hear him warn Americans about how this vast debt will constrict their children’s futures?
- Stop litigating how we got here. What matters is where we’re headed. And with Clinton or Trump, the likely answer is: toward doom. In our next recession — it’s sure to arrive, the only question is when — what will we do if the world gets nervous and stops buying U.S. government securities? Then what, big spenders?
During this campaign, Americans have heard next to nothing about these enormous obligations — debts taken in the name of taxpayers, and debts that taxpayers truly will have to repay. We’re listening for clues that Clinton or Trump care in the least about this.
We’ll also be mulling one of the Obama administration’s disclosures in its acknowledgment of the fiscal 2016 deficit. Among the areas where spending is rising quickly: interest payments to investors, here and overseas, on that nearly $20 trillion national debt.
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